This is a short, technical Bill, with only five sections to amend certain qualification recognition provisions of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. One of the requirements for registration under the Act is that the applicant must hold an approved qualification. The Bill will provide that a professional qualification which has been recognised, either by the Minister or a body acting on behalf of the State, prior to the introduction of statutory registration for the relevant profession at the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, CORU, will be considered an approved qualification under the Act. This will mean there will be no requirement for reassessment of the qualification by CORU, which will allow holders of such professional qualifications to apply for statutory registration at CORU in order that they can legally practise their professions in Ireland.
The legislation, as it stands, does not allow for the registration either of EEA persons who have had their non-Irish qualifications recognised under a directive which has been subsequently repealed, or of non-EEA persons or persons with non-EEA qualifications who have previously had their qualifications recognised in Ireland under the administrative process. The Bill addresses that gap in the legislation.
I thank all the Deputies for their valuable and thoughtful contributions on Second Stage and the health committee for its consideration of the Bill.
The Bill has already passed all Stages in the Seanad and I trust it can now be passed by the Dáil with a view to enactment. The sooner its provisions are commenced, the sooner appropriately qualified health and social care professionals can register with the relevant registration board at CORU and practice their professions.